In front of a record crowd at the Verizon Wireless Center, Minnesota State defeated Michigan Tech by a score of 4-2 to take three points in the weekend series between the two top-five ranked teams, and take a three-point lead on the Huskies in the WCHA standings heading into the final weekend of the regular season next weekend.
Michigan Tech got on the board first when David Johnstone skated down the left wing and beat Minnesota State goalie Stephon Williams high to the short side. But Minnesota State was able to answer back just 15 seconds later on a rebound goal by Dylan Margonari. It appeared the two teams would head to the locker room tied, until Jon Jutzi's wrist shot from the point snuck past Michigan Tech goalie Jamie Phillips to give Minnesota State a 2-1 lead after the first frame.
Michigan Tech would tie the game when Chris Leibinger came out of the penalty box behind the Minnesota State defense and received a pass for a breakaway. He snuck the puck between the legs of Williams to even the score at 2-2.
Minnesota State took the lead back at the 11:58 mark of the second period on a goal by defenseman Carter Foguth. Bryce Gervais added an insurance goal on the power play in the third period to bring the game to its' final score.
The win moves Minnesota State to 24-6-3 on the season and 20-3-3 in the WCHA. They travel to Bemidji next weekend to take on Bemidji State, needing just a single point(or a single point lost by Michigan Tech) to clinch a share of their first ever MacNaughton Cup. Michigan Tech will play a home-and-home series against Northern Michigan, needing a sweep and some serious help from Bemidji State to have a shot at finishing first overall in the league.
Shots on goal: MSU: 14-8 -9-31 MTU: 7-6-7-20
Even strength shot attempts: MSU: 20-14-16-50-52.6% MTU: 13-18-14-45-47.4%
Prime scoring area attempts: MSU:6-6-5-17 MTU: 2-10-8-20
What do the numbers tell us?
Minnesota State had another big edge in shots, but the possession numbers indicate this game was a lot closer than last night at even strength. The prime scoring area attempts are low compared to your average game which shows that ice in front of the net was hard to come by in this game with two strong defensive teams. It's also worth noting that Minnesota State blocked about a third of Michigan Tech's shot attempts for the second straight night(15 of 48 tonight).
15:41 David Johnstone from Tanner Kero 1-0 Michigan Tech
Johnstone created a turnover at the Minnesota State blue line and raced down the left wing on a 2-on-1. Jonhstone kept the puck and took a high wrist shot that beat Williams over the shoulder on the near side.
15:56 Dylan Margonari from Brad McClure and Zach Palmquist 1-1 tie
Margonari found a loose puck off a scramble in front of the net that he knocked back into the net for the rebound goal.
19:55 Jon Jutzi from CJ Franklin and Chase Grant 2-1 Minnesota State
Jutzi received a pass from Franklin at the left point and fired a wrist shot through traffic that beat a screened Phillips.
4:55 Chris Leibinger from Mike Neville and Cliff Watson 2-2 tie
Leibinger came out of the penalty box as his penalty expired and caught a pass from Neville for a breakaway. He shot the puck low through the five hole of Williams for the goal.
11:58 Carter Foguth from Brett Knowles and Max Gaede 3-2 Minnesota State
Knowles was denied on a chance in close at the left side of the crease, but picked up his own rebound, circled around the net and passed the puck out to Foguth in the high slot, who slipped a wrist shot past Phillips for the goal.